URBAN community land ownership is growing in Scotland and delivering tangible benefits, a message to be shared when the second Urban Community Land Gathering gets under way in Edinburgh next week.

The community right to buy and the Scottish Land Fund (SLF) were extended in 2016 to cover urban areas. Although some of the challenges are different, it showed that community ownership and land reform are equally relevant to urban and rural settings.

“We believe that, in both urban and rural areas, community landownership will create vibrant places that people want to, and can afford to, make their home in the long term,” said Linsay Chalmers, development manager for Community Land Scotland, which is running the gathering.

“When we held the first Urban Gathering in Glasgow in January this year, the urban community land movement was very new so the focus was on making sure that communities knew where to go to get the support they needed.

“The urban community land movement has moved on enormously since then. Many communities have now taken ownership of land and assets and are already delivering tangible benefits, so this event will focus more on sharing stories of those early successes.”

Attendees at the Edinburgh event will hear from community groups from Dumfries, North Lanarkshire and Edinburgh who, between them, own a range of buildings and a 170-acre estate. One of them is Viewpark Conservation Group from Lanarkshire, in the process of buying a green space for their local community, which they call “our green lung”.

Its chair, Grace McNeill, said: “By bringing the 171-acre Douglas Support Estate into community ownership, we will be able to work towards improving the health and wellbeing of our people, and realise its potential as an educational and recreational resource. There are woods with mature trees, fish in the North Calder, and habitat for deer, badgers and otters.

“It is a real asset to the area and the county. People have had access to the land for decades and it would be a great loss if we were to lose it.

“We have been top of all the lists for all the wrong reasons here – recording the highest levels of asthma and coronary heart disease in North Lanarkshire.

“This is an important step towards preserving and protecting the Douglas Support (Viewpark Glen) estate and giving back something of natural beauty and benefit to health and wellbeing.”

Another success story came from Peebles Community Trust, which has received funding from the Scottish Land Fund to buy the ex-servicemen’s club which went into administration and which they will turn into a community centre.

It has now become the venue for the popular Men’s Shed group which has 140 members using the woodworking facilities.

Linwood Community Development Trust is creating “Mossedge Village” in their community where their new football facility already has footfall of 1000 people a week.

Kirsty Flannigan, the trust manager, said it began with a group of women who did not like the community being left as it was and wanted better for their children.

She added: “Through perseverance, we succeeded in getting where we are today. We have a Community Action Plan – and 2200 residents have contributed their views through our consultation processes. As a result of that we have many projects up and running which meet the needs of our community.”